Postpartum depression leaves many women unable to function both in their careers and as a mother. Here are ten truths that will help get you back on the road to recovery from depression.
You’re not alone
Scientific research (thanks to ongoing federal funding!) is starting to focus more on women’s health. And the new statistics are saying that experiencing postpartum depression is totally normal.
Approximately 70 percent of all new mothers will experience at least some form of “baby blues” while, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in nine women will experience clinical postpartum depression.
That’s a lot of women who understand what you are going through!
It’s not the new normal
Although it’s normal in a sense to go through a bout of PPD, it’s not your life from now on. Believe your therapist and doctor when they say that you are going to get through this. Your worries or depression are not going to come true. The cloud will lift with treatment and time!
Early treatment pays dividends
You might feel tempted to grin and bear it—but don’t! There is treatment and the earlier and faster you receive treatment, the faster you will be back to feeling like your regular self. But even better: studies show that early prevention curtails an escalation of mental health concerns down the road.
Onset is possible for up to a year
Some women report that they were flying high from the birth of their newborn when the depression or anxiety hit them from out of the blue—anywhere within the first year postpartum. That’s because PPD doesn’t have a specific onset date, although most cases appear after the first week or within the first month.
Speaking out erases the stigma
Many women with PPD say they felt like a bad mom for having depression—which is why there is a growing campaign to overturn the stigma with public acknowledgement of the concern. The growing list of women speaking up includes Princess Diana, Reese Witherspoon, Chrissy Teigen, Gwyneth Paltrow, Adele, and Serena Williams. All these women have experienced PPD!
Medications are available
There are many different options for women experiencing PPD. It’s important to talk to your doctor about the available medications—and to express your concerns about how medication will affect your nursing, energy level, or a particular goal. There are options available for everyone’s different needs. Just ask!
Your questions are valid
There are no silly questions! Any concern or emotion you are experiencing at this time (or any time!) is valid. A good doctor or therapist will walk you through your options and ease your mind about any nagging questions.
Postpartum takes many forms
There is no right way to have PPD. Some women report hallucinations, others report a depression that makes them uninterested in their baby, still others are full of anxiety about how to be the best mom to their newborn. Whatever form your PPD takes, it’s going to be as unique as the woman you are.
You did nothing wrong
Women often say that on top of their battle with PPD, they feel an additional sense of guilt that they are feeling unhappy with a newborn at home. Remember that you did nothing wrong.
Life events outside of your control often factor into an increased risk of PPD, including pregnancy complications, living in an area with little social support, being a mother of multiples, and a family history of depression.
The cause is unclear
We have yet to pinpoint the exact cause of PPD. Studies show that a drastic decrease in estrogen and progesterone trigger emotional repercussions, but many women with these same hormonal shifts never experience PPD. There are certain studied links to the concern, including lack of sleep since sleep plays a large role in how people handle situations.
Whatever the cause, it’s recommended that women experiencing PPD seek out friends and family for support, remember to eat well, and get as much sleep as possible—right after booking that doctor’s appointment!